This issue continues Captain America’s battle with Machinesmith from the last issue, with the addition of a Fantastic Four character, the robotic Dragon Man (seen both on the cover to your right and earlier, behind the scenes in Avengers #42). We also touch base with Steve Rogers’s personal life, watching him as he looks for art gigs and meets someone who will become very important in his life for quite some time going forward.
We open with Cap, Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, and other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Army personnel examining the android who impersonated Baron Strucker in the last issue, all of which Machinesmith secretly observes. While Nick makes a connection that will prove to be true, Cap waxes philosophical about both the progress of science and its attempts to create life, but still notices something suspicious, and just in time.
A small globe, which Cap suspects contains information for its creator, escapes from the wreckage, and when a soldier fails to shoot it down, Nick loses his cool, only to be calmed and then humbled by his old friend, all too eager to share the blame for their failures that day.
For once, though, it seems Cap went too far in ribbing Nick, but they part ways on good terms, with Cap silently sympathizing with the difficult position Nick finds himself in (a sentiment that will be echoed in issue #250 when Cap finds himself considering an even more fraught role in the government).
After a diversion during which we see Machinesmith unveil his latest acquisition, the powerful android known as Dragon Man, we return to Steve Rogers as he pursues his career as a freelance commercial artist… none too successfully, for now.
If he only knew that Peter Parker was a photographic artist (among other things).
Before he gets to his apartment, Steve runs into his neighbor and friend Josh Cooper, who invites him to meet a new tenant, in what amount to his own “face it, tiger… you just hit the jackpot” moment.
Later, Steve is saved from having to admit his ignorance of current pop culture by a news story on the radio.
As Steve grows pensive, Bernie is impressed with his poise… but less so with his clumsy urgency.
Don’t worry—this is far from the last we (and Steve) will see of Ms. Bernie Rosenthal. But for now, Cap is engaged with a much more fearsome presence, who is both fascinated and aggravated by the small globe that flew away from the Strucker-bot earlier.
As always, Cap is concerned first and foremost with civilian casualties…
…and for good reason.
Cap decides to target the globe, but ends up handing his greatest weapon to his new foe, who flings it away after finding it inedible.
Without his shield, Cap is forced into evasive maneuvers while still thinking about minimizing casualties, including cleverly manipulating Dragon Man into putting out the fire it started.
Just then, his shield does return, but to no avail…
…and on this note the issue ends. Be sure to come back for the conclusion in the next issue and post!
Captain America (vol. 1) #248, August 1980: Roger Stern (plot, writer), John Byrne (plot, pencils), Josef Rubinstein (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Jim Novak (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
PREVIOUS ISSUE: Captain America #247 (July 1980)
ALSO THIS MONTH: Avengers #198 (August 1980)
NEXT ISSUE: Captain America #249 (September 1980)